Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms
After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.
In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.
Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.
If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.
Hiv Symptoms And Treatment
Weight loss: Shedding pounds without trying is an obvious sign that your HIV may be going in the wrong direction. Untreated HIV itself or infections you get because of it can make you lose weight. Plus, if youâre sick, you may not feel like eating.
If you lose 10% or more of your body weight , you could have whatâs called wasting syndrome. You also have diarrhea, weakness, and fever for about a month. This mostly affects people with advanced HIV.
Itâs important to try to put weight back on. In addition to taking your HIV medications, a few things can help:
- Talk to a dietitian to make sure your diet is balanced and gives you the calories you need.
- Build up your muscle mass with workouts like weightlifting or resistance exercises, like pushups, planks, and squats.
- Try high-protein supplements.
- Treat infections that may cause diarrhea or loss of appetite.
- Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help with wasting syndrome, called megestrol acetate and dronabinol .
Skin problems: Dry, itchy skin is a common issue for people whose immune systems are damaged from HIV. Skin infections like impetigo or tinea can be a problem, too.
- Steroids and antihistamines
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that causes small, flesh-colored bumps on the skin. The virus can grow out of control in people with HIV, so see a dermatologist for treatment right away.
Other treatments include:
How Often Should A Man Get Tested
Sexually active men should get routine tests for HIV.
Men who are sexually active should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their routine health care.
The CDC recommend that everyone between the ages of should take an HIV test.
The CDC also recommend that people with specific risk factors should take a test at least once a year . This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and users of injectable drugs.
Besides these formal recommendations, everyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also take a test.
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You’re More Likely To Get Hiv If Your Partner Has Hiv And An Std
People with both HIV and an STD have more HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid. This makes it easier for a person with an STD or HIV to give the virus to others when having sex without a condom.
Remember, many people who have HIV don’t know it. It can take many years for symptoms to show up. That is why it is so important to use condoms during sex, or not to have sex at all.
Is There Any Treatment Of A Cure For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV will need lifelong treatment. The best treatments right now are combinations of prescription drugs. These medications include antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors and other drugs that help people who are living with HIV stay healthy. People living with HIV also can stay healthy by doing things like eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
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How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
Myth #: Hiv Always Leads To Aids
HIV is the infection that causes AIDS. But this doesnt mean all HIV-positive individuals will develop AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that is the result of HIV attacking the immune system over time and is associated with weakened immune response and opportunistic infections. AIDS is prevented by early treatment of HIV infection.
With current therapies, levels of HIV infection can be controlled and kept low, maintaining a healthy immune system for a long time and therefore preventing opportunistic infections and a diagnosis of AIDS, explains Dr. Richard Jimenez, professor of public health at Walden University.
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After Testing Positive For Hiv What Can A Person Expect During Their First Visit With A Health Care Provider
After testing positive for HIV, a persons first visit with a health care provider includes a review of the persons health and medical history, a physical exam, and several lab tests. The health care provider also explains the benefits of HIV treatment and discusses ways to reduce the risk of passing HIV to others.
The information collected during a persons initial visit is used to make decisions about HIV treatment.
When Someone You Know Has Hiv
When someone in your family tests positive for HIV, you may feel a range of emotions. Among fear, confusion, regret and love for the person afflicted, you may also feel afraid for your own personal well-being and may have questions about just how contagious HIV may be. Rest assured that people with HIV can live at home and maintain a normal social life. Since the virus is not spread by casual household contact, family members, roommates, and visitors are not at risk of becoming infected.
The following information is provided to clarify what should and should not be done in living with someone with HIV. You will see that most of it is just good hygiene practices.
Hand washing is an effective way to prevent the spread of any germs. Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. This is to protect both the infected and uninfected family members remember that a person living with HIV may have a weak immune system and therefore may be more likely to catch any type of infection from another person. They, too, are vulnerable.
Personal Articles such as toothbrushes, razors and razor blades should not be shared among household members. These may become soiled with blood and could spread germs that may cause many illnesses.
Wash dishes in hot soapy water. No special precautions are necessary. There is no need to wash separately the dishes used by the infected person.
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Do I Need To Tell My Previous Partners
Whether you tell previous partners can depend upon a number of factors such as what your relationship was like, the type of sex you had and whether it was protected.
You can ask staff at your HIV clinic to contact your ex-partners and sexual contacts for you. They can do this without giving any of your details away.
Which Law Is Used To Prosecute Hiv Transmission In Scotland
The common law offence of Culpable and Reckless Conduct is used to prosecute cases in Scotland.
This is a legal catch-all vehicle which criminalises acts that cause injury to others or create a risk of injury. This means that people can technically be prosecuted for both passing on the virus and for putting someone at risk through unprotected sex.
The law in Scotland focuses on the behaviour of the defendant, rather than the harm caused, and whether their conduct can be considered reckless or not.
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Diagnosis In Men Vs Women
Doctors diagnose HIV in both men and women by testing a blood or saliva sample, although they could also test a urine sample. This test looks for antibodies produced by the person to fight the virus. The test typically takes around 3 to 12 weeks to detect antibodies.
Another test looks for HIV antigens, which are substances that the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause the immune system to activate. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body even before antibodies develop.
Usually, both the antibody and the antigen tests are done in labs, but there are also home tests that people can take.
Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva, and their results are quickly available. If the test is positive, it is essential to confirm the results with a doctor. If the test is negative, a person should repeat it after a few months to confirm the results.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent HIV is to not have sex with a person who has HIV, or share a needle with a person who has HIV. However, there is also a medicine called PrEP that people can take before coming into contact with HIV that can prevent them from getting an HIV infection.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who are at long-term risk of getting HIV either through sexual activity or by injecting drugs. If youre taking PrEP and come into contact with HIV, the medicine makes it difficult for HIV to develop inside your body.
Other ways to prevent HIV include:
- When you have sex, practice safer sex by using a condom. The best condom is a male latex condom. A female condom is not as effective but does offer some protection.
- Do not share needles and syringes.
- Never let someone elses blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, or feces get into your anus, vagina, or mouth.
What You Can Do
Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested at least once a year.
If you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested and answer yes to any of the following questions, you should get an HIV test because these things inc rease your chances of getting HIV.
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex —anal or vaginal— with a partner who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Do you have another sexually transmitted disease ?
- Do you have hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of these questions or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
You should be tested at least once a year if you answered yes to any of these questions. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing , depending on their risk.
If you think youve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment , talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor right away about taking post-exposure prophylaxis . You must start PEP within 72 hours of a possible exposure, but the sooner you start PEP, the better.
Also, anyone who has been sexually assaulted should get an HIV test as soon as possible after the assault.
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Sex Or Injection Partners
Telling your partners that you have HIV before you have sex or inject drugs may be uncomfortable. But doing so protects you under the law. It also allows your partners to make decisions that can protect their health.
You should also tell your current or former partners if youve been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease . This lets them know that they should also get tested for other STDs.
There are a few ways to let your partners know:
You tell your partners.
- These conversations can be hard. You may have been exposed to HIV by one of your partners, or you may have exposed one or more of them without knowing.
The health department tells your partners.
- This is sometimes called Partner Services.
- Health department staff tell your current and former partners that they may have been exposed to HIV.
- The health department will provide your partners with testing, counseling, and referrals for other services.
- Partner Services programs are available through health departments and some medical offices and clinics.
- Your health care provider, social worker, case manager, patient navigator, or HIV testing center can help you find a Partner Services program.
What We Know About The Types Of Hiv Tests
HIV tests are very accurate, but no HIV test can detect HIV immediately after a person gets the virus. Some kinds of tests detect HIV sooner than others. In general, nucleic acid tests can detect HIV the soonest, followed by antigen/antibody tests, and then antibody tests.
Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. Your immune system makes antibodies when youre exposed to bacteria or viruses like HIV. Antibody tests look for these antibodies in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV slightly sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
More Information With a rapid antibody screening test, results are ready in 30 minutes or less.
A self-test is an antibody test you can buy at a pharmacy or online. There is currently one available FDA-approved self-test, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test gives fast results at home. You have to swab your mouth to get an oral fluid sample and use a kit to test it. Results are ready in 20 minutes. If the test says you have HIV, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. The manufacturer provides confidential counseling and refers you to follow-up testing sites.
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Myth #: You Can Tell If Someone Has Hiv/aids By Looking At Them
If an individual contracts the HIV virus, the symptoms are largely unremarkable. A person with an HIV infection might display symptoms that are similar to any other type of infection, such as a fever, fatigue, or general malaise. Additionally, the initial mild symptoms generally only last a few weeks.
With the early introduction of antiretroviral medications, the HIV virus can be effectively managed. A person with HIV who receives antiretroviral treatment is relatively healthy and is no different than other individuals who have chronic health conditions.
The stereotypical symptoms that people often associate with HIV are actually symptoms of complications that can arise from AIDS-related illnesses or complications. However, with adequate antiretroviral treatment and medications, those symptoms will not be present in an individual living with HIV.
First Stage: Acute Hiv Infection Symptoms
Most people don’t know right away when they’ve been infected with HIV. But they may have symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after theyâve gotten the virus. This is when your body’s immune system puts up a fight. It’s called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection.
- Ulcers in your mouth, esophagus, anus, or genitals
- Headache and other neurological symptoms
If you have symptoms like these and might have come into contact with someone with HIV in the past 2 to 6 weeks, go to a doctor and ask that you get an HIV test. If you donât have symptoms but still think you might have come into contact with the virus, get tested.
Early testing is important for two reasons. First, at this stage, levels of HIV in your blood and bodily fluids are very high. This makes it especially contagious. Second, starting treatment as soon as possible might help boost your immune system and ease your symptoms.
A combination of medications can help fight HIV, keep your immune system healthy, and keep you from spreading the virus. If you take these medications and have healthy habits, your HIV infection probably wonât get worse.
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Increased Outbreaks Of Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
For people who already have another sexually transmitted infection , HIV can lead to worsening symptoms.
Human papillomavirus , which causes genital warts, is more active in people who have HIV. HIV can also cause more frequent and more intense outbreaks in people with genital herpes. Their bodies may not respond as well to their herpes treatment, either.
- not sharing needles when using injected drugs
- taking pre-exposure prophylaxis the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends this preventive medication for people with known risk factors for HIV
- not douching after sex it can alter the natural balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina, making an existing infection worse or increasing the risk of contracting HIV and STDs
- using a condom, properly, if not in a monogamous relationship with an HIV-negative partner
Women without HIV who have HIV-positive partners arent at risk of contracting the virus if their partner uses HIV medications daily and achieves viral suppression, though ongoing use of a condom is recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source, HIV-positive people pose effectively no risk of transmitting HIV when their viral load is consistently measured at fewer than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.